I was scouted by an agency this week, and had a meeting with them yesterday. It was kind of doomed from the start, due to their need for fees of £95 per week. That's all well and good if you have that kind of money, and frankly I doubt that many emerging artists do. They seem to provide a fair amount for the money, however much of this goes on during office hours, which would have a knock-on effect of me taking time off from my day job, thereby earning less. I'm not sure I can spare £95 now, let alone if I was earning less.
I went along to this interview anyway, in the hopes that negotiation would be possible, but expecting that this would not be the case. Of course, it wasn't, on the grounds that all of their artists should be treated equally, and I can't really argue with that. As usual, art boils down to money and self-promotion. Even the person I met yesterday said this, but that's not something I don't already know. He had obviously already made his money and had his success, as he told me £95 per week can easily be borrowed. I cannot imagine who on earth would lend me that amount on a weekly basis.
The whole experience was a bit strange. I arrived on time, but had to wait for half an hour in the gallery, whilst the show was being changed over. I felt and was treated like I was in the way a bit, and I personally felt it was a bit unprofessional to be doing this on a day when they knew people were coming in for meetings.
The actual interview was nothing too special. I received an email this morning telling me what they had found impressive about me, and I have to say that is a confidence boost. However, I have decided not to complete the application process for this, on the basis of some negative comments I've heard about this organisation, the financial issue, and also the impression I got that I would be very much controlled if I became involved. Requiring approval for everything would kind of kill one of the main reasons I became involved with art in the first place - complete freedom.
Despite this, spending time in this kind of environment again has really reminded me of what I really want to be doing in life, and that I do not want to be stuck in an office job for the rest of my life. As a result of this, I've spend some time today looking into opportunities such as residencies, exhibition call for entries etc and making a few applications, and I feel a new sense of motivation. Having a day job and being tired can easily make you lazy, and I feel that has happened to me recently. I'm pleased that I've at least gained some momentum as a result of this experience. I'm still applying for a residency opportunity in Finland, and working on an exhibition with two others, but finding additional options is always good, and makes me feel like I actually am doing worthwhile things. I don't want my art career to fall by the wayside. Hopefully something more will come from what I've been doing this afternoon.